Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Holacracy and Liberating Structures.

Hello everyone,

I just finished reading this book: http://www.liberatingstructures.com/

and I am already speculating about ways of integrating Holacracy (which could be considered an -Intangible Macro Structure- in the perspective of the book)  with the Microstructures that are mentioned there.

I see several realms of synergy, a couple of examples:

  • practice: new ad hoc meeting formats could be created for specific business objectives inside any holacracy practice by recombining those and using them as lego bricks.
  • adoption: microstructures are small innovative habits that could prepare the road to an adoption of Holacracy especially in very traditional contexts for which the - Holacracy All at Once or Nothing- approach might be too much to digest.

 

I wonder if inside this community some of you have already started playing with these. If anybody wants to share their findings I am happy to discuss the topic in private or public.

 

add on: at http://www.liberatingstructures.com/news-and-events/  in on of the events' agenda, holacracy is mentioned, anybody in Oakland on december 12-13? A bit out of reach from Rome :-(

Andrea.

19 Replies
Jean-Michel Gode
12/07/2016

Hi Andrea,

I do work with In Excelsis, the French company in charge to localize LS in France.
One of our projects is to translate the LS book from English to French.
We're also animating a Meet-Up Group about LS.

Let's have a talk about that :-)

Warmly,
Jean-Michel

Chris Cowan
12/08/2016

I haven't read the book, but I'm intrigued. 

Regarding: "adoption: microstructures are small innovative habits that could prepare the road to an adoption of Holacracy especially in very traditional contexts for which the - Holacracy All at Once or Nothing- approach might be too much to digest." 

I think there are some. I have been working in the Habit Support role within H1 and have been thinking about this a lot. A few of the "microstructures" that I see (if I'm using that word correctly) are: 

  • Tactical and Governance Meetings (they are the core sub-system IMO)
  • Technology integration (glassfrog usage/comfort, referencing roles in internal electronic communications/systems) 
  • Personal processing: Projects vs. next-actions, etc. Duties to each other. (this can be delayed until after the core sub-systems have stabilized)

So, these are just top-of-head examples.

Regarding these sub-systems, I think of the quote from Animal Farm, "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." That is, everything in the Constitution is needed, but some are more needed than others. 

Andrea Faré
12/10/2016
Chris Cowan posted:

I haven't read the book, but I'm intrigued. 

Regarding: "adoption: microstructures are small innovative habits that could prepare the road to an adoption of Holacracy especially in very traditional contexts for which the - Holacracy All at Once or Nothing- approach might be too much to digest." 

I think there are some. I have been working in the Habit Support role within H1 and have been thinking about this a lot. A few of the "microstructures" that I see (if I'm using that word correctly) are: 

  • Tactical and Governance Meetings (they are the core sub-system IMO)
  • Technology integration (glassfrog usage/comfort, referencing roles in internal electronic communications/systems) 
  • Personal processing: Projects vs. next-actions, etc. Duties to each other. (this can be delayed until after the core sub-systems have stabilized)

So, these are just top-of-head examples.

Regarding these sub-systems, I think of the quote from Animal Farm, "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." That is, everything in the Constitution is needed, but some are more needed than others. 

Thanks [@mention:455886150941203371], I am particularly interested in the adoption matters. The reason I am reflecting on this is that I am perceiving that, due to some funny traits of the human mind,  there seems to be a strange trade-off between giving a clear identity to something and being able to spread it as a virus... 
For some reason the stronger the identity of what you are proposing, the easier it is to get strong reactions to it that are purely emotional, especially from decision makers ("Not invented here" --> therefore bad, "we are good and we will build  our own model!" )
This is certainly the case for holacracy at the moment (speaking from a country that doesn't shine for "organizational obsolescence awareness") 
I have no clear ideas about it yet, but if we could get people to experiment some "liberating approaches" in a sandbox without threatening their organizational mindset directly we could prepare them better for what's to come.

This doesn't mean that a switch of the organization model can be triggered bottom up, we all know why that will never happen, but it may help ease the transition at a personal level. 

Jeff Kreh
12/11/2016

[@mention:452086181438015612], in an evolutionary way of thinking, these other companies either will it will not adapt (and that in their own time). What I think I hear you proposing - and please correct me if I'm incorrect - is that Holacracy is such a radical leap forward that some transition might be needed for existing companies to contemplate, much less achieve, adaptation. 

Andrea Faré
12/11/2016

Culture is a side effect of practice, we all agree on that or we wouldn't be here. My question is: can we do something to increase the sensitivity that is required to even want to experiment with a different practice?

 

Jeff Kreh
12/11/2016

What is the general aim of those who resist autonomy and distributed authority? If we can answer that question, then I think there is plenty of evidence for developing answers that for your question. It seems to me that the command, control, and predict mindset can be influenced by MorningStar’s success. That it is possible cannot be denied. From there, that it is possible in this organization and what that could look like make sense. I also think the 100% in part of the company makes sense as a starting point for easing a company into Holacracy. I've also started researching the LS website and love a lot of what I see there...thank you for sharing that resource! 

Chris Cowan
12/12/2016

I think the challenge here is that Holacracy is not just a different methodology, but a different KIND of different. 

Most don't even realize that they have a default "operating system." It is not something they see...it is the position FROM WHICH they see. 

So, Holacracy will naturally be misunderstood upon initial inspection. Resistance to implementing something that "wasn't invented here," makes a lot of sense. But Holacracy doesn't actually restrict them in the way that they think it does. 

It is really about education. Or more accurately, providing people the opportunity to get experience. Then (if we are lucky), they may start "seeing" themselves and new possibilities for the first time.  

Jeff Kreh
12/12/2016

[@mention:455886150941203371], you had me at "different KIND of different" . . .

Andrea Faré
12/12/2016
Chris Cowan posted:

.... But Holacracy doesn't actually restrict them in the way that they think it does....

 

exactly.

JeroenVermeer
12/12/2016

Isn't - when you go to the bottom of things - the reluctance to accept the Holacracy model about the fear of letting go of control (besides ego's not willing to let go of their status)? Besides that, it is always very easy to see the potential downside to a new model and neglect the downsides of the current model. So I would start by examining the downsides of the current model of the organisation, and reviewing potential changes to be made to solve these (tensions). What you will likely run into then is the fear of letting go of control. If the present management is not at ease with this, see if you can make small steps to experiment with it. Once they get more comfortable with the concept, Holacracy can be introduced.

Tyler Danke
12/12/2016

I have already adopted and am not coaching other organizations so adoption considerations is not my excitement with Liberating Structures. Liberating Structures includes basically 32 Apps almost ready to go that would need a little tweaking. I am totally psyched for that.

Bernard Marie Chiquet
12/12/2016

Hey [@mention:456167666726491228] Could you share/provide a link towards such 32 Apps?

Karilen Mays
12/12/2016

I have started exploring this book thanks to [@mention:450819477778576386] and have found a few processes promising for purpose exploration, retrospectives, learning processes, and strategy so far. I think it is really promising Andrea...I dont have the book with me, so all for now. Glad to hear you are looking at it.

Tyler Danke
12/12/2016

 

Five conventional structures guide the way we organize routine interactions and how groups work together: presentations, managed discussions, open discussions, status reports and brainstorm sessions. Liberating Structures add 33 more options to the big five conventional approaches.

[@mention:449833773917801859], Liberating Structures has a menu of 33 Structures that liberate. They are not exactly built as Holacracy Apps yet but I think there is potential that many of these could be adapted to become apps. Here is the link to their "menu". http://www.liberatingstructures.com/ls/

Andrea Faré
12/12/2016

To define them in "holacratic" terms they could be referred to as alternative participatory meeting structures to be practiced in groups  that are usually larger than your average circle size, with the purpose of finding ideas or solving big challenges together. 

They could be used in holacracy trainings (and I would say some already are), so  when some trainer holds a PCT they could use some of them to engage people in reflections, comments and FAQ

They could be used before the adoptions, inside a target company,  as an integration to old fashioned structures,  to awaken the sense of responsibility and authority, the personal voice that everyone needs to bring  to an holacracy implementation, enabling some mindshift at the personal level. Something that prepares the table for what comes next.

 

Karen Dawson
12/12/2016

I'm here at the LS meet-up in Oakland and yes indeed, there are plenty of connections between these LS micro-structures and what I think of as more macro perspective of Holacracy. It's good, rich stuff...with plenty of room to play.

Bernard Marie Chiquet
12/13/2016

Thanks [@mention:456167666726491228]

Bernard Marie Chiquet
12/13/2016

[@mention:471509183408608041] Would love you share what you've learned in such meet-up

Karen Dawson
12/14/2016

For anyone keen to know more about liberating structures, much like holacracy (and the people like all of you keen to generously share) the website is superb: www.liberatingstructures.com The material is available on the creative commons, anyone is welcome to use the structures. The structures are intended to unleash the collective intelligence of a group - more voices are heard, possibilities are unlocked. Each liberating structure has a clearly stated purpose, so it's fun to shop around and see which purpose best fits one's challenges or stuckness. Hope this is helpful.